Don Diamont is known to daytime audiences as both Brad Carlton, the role he played on The Young and the Restless from 1985 until 2009 and as Bill Spencer on The Bold and the Beautiful. We caught up with the actor during his visit to Toronto to reflect on his transition from one soap to another and what’s coming up for Brooke and Bill on B&B and which pairing he’d like to revisit!
You appeared at The National Women’s Show here this past weekend. How was it?
It was a good turn out. The fans were excited. We did a great Q&A and I signed autographs. It was for charity. We raised money for ovarian cancer research.
You were also at the Paley Center on Friday for B&B’s event. Busy weekend.
Yeah, I’ve been busy.
How would the fan encounters here in Canada compare to the ones in the U.S.? We don’t get that many soap star visits.
Canadians are generally polite and under control. [Laughs] Always very nice.
Did you encounter more Bill & Brooke (played by Katherine Kelly Lang) fans or Bill & Katie (played by Heather Tom) fans over the weekend?
Both! “Batie” and “Brill!”
There was also that pairing with Steffy (Jacqueline MacInnes Wood) which I’m sure still has fans. That was hot.
Right? It’s so funny that you say that…
What happened to that?
They thought that getting Steffy into a triangle with Liam (Scott Clifton) would do what it has done. It has legs. It went from the Steffy/Liam/Hope triangle to now the Liam/Steffy/Wyatt triangle.
Both of Bill’s sons… Which isn’t creepy at all.
I guess they were hoping that the audience would forget that bill and Steffy had this really intense relationship. I hope that we go down that road again at some point. Going down that road with Steffy would create a lot of strife for Bill. It would be interesting.
Bill could tell his sons that they don’t deserve her!
That’s right! The big dog had to step in.
Do you think B&B relies too heavily on triangles?
I can’t really say that. It’s obviously working. It’s been very successful.
Has there been a triangle or storyline where you’ve gotten to use your acting chops a little more?
A triangle creates the obvious angst but probably the issues that Bill has with his sons, Liam and Wyatt (Darin Brooks) and some of those confrontations.
And then there’s Quinn (Rena Sofer).
[Laughs] That was an interesting few weeks there!
Those love scenes must have been fun to film.
Yeah, they were pretty…specific. At one point I was supposed to rip her shirt open and I unhooked her bra! “Whoops, sorry!” I ended up pulling her in so that the crew couldn’t see. I covered her up very quickly.
Was that scene more intense to film or was it back on Y&R when Lauren (Tracey E. Bregman) gave Brad a heart attack in bed?
Oh my gosh… They didn’t want to call it a heart attack. They ended up calling it an “episode.” That’s right… That was a long time ago. I didn’t even remember that.
Let’s get into that transition from Y&R to B&B. You were there for two decades.
Yes. A little over that.
And now you’ve been on B&B for seven years. Y&R turned Brad into a “Bradcicle.” What was it like leaving Y&R?
At the time it was emotional. I had been there my whole adult life. I had been through a lot of stuff on that show. A lot of friends were there. But, I hadn’t been happy there for a while. Quite a while, actually. Story-wise.
Like the reliquary?
Well, I thought that there were some very positive aspects of that story at first. With Brad’s backstory and Judaism. That was great. I loved that we finally looked into Brad’s past. The reliquary story was sort of out there but I loved that this was where we found out about his past. As for the reliquary itself, I’ll leave that to the audience to decide. But getting into his past was great.
So when that came to an end, it was bittersweet. I wasn’t thrilled with the story. I was frustrated with what was going on. I kind of felt like I was caught up in something that had political hierarchal things that had nothing to do with me. As it turns out, leaving was the best thing in the world. It turned out to be quite the blessing.
B&B must have been a much happier set to go to.
Going to B&B was much more like what Y&R used to be when Bill [Bell] was at the helm. So going over to B&B and only having one voice and that’s [head writer and executive producer]Brad Bell’s voice – it couldn’t be better.
Well, they’re hoping that will soon be with Sally Sussman Morina coming on board.
Yes, I know from my friends right across the hall that it is. I know that quite a few of the actors are thrilled to have Sally there. She understands the history and knows what made the show great in the first place. Her tenure is being very well received. Hopefully, she sticks around a long time.
It was a long time coming. It was very telling when former head writer Maria Arena Bell killed off characters named Brad and Colleen!
She did kill off Brad and Colleen. [Laughs]
But now you’re playing Bill, so that’s fine.
The fans did notice all this.
Yeah… It was quite an interesting period. Everything happens for a reason. It’s the classic “one door closes and another one opens.” That was really my attitude about it. I didn’t know that I would be going to B&B and get to play this guy. That’s what life holds for you. I ended up being included in People magazine’s Sexiest Men Alive issue exactly a year after being fired from Y&R! Then Soap Opera Digest named Bill as their “Best New Character.”
He’s a fun character to watch!
I love it. I love Bill. He’s what you see is what you get. He’s right in your face. He really tries to do the right thing or believes that he’s doing the right thing. He has to make the tough choices. He’s the guy who will walk the walk. A lot of characters will just talk the talk. He feels that he has strength and the emotional fortitude to face things that other people can’t. He’s a very multidimensional character who compartmentalizes his feelings. I love playing this character. It’s so much fun.
Bill recently called off his wedding to Brooke. Next week, he asks her to elope!
He sort of wants to put what had happened behind them. It wasn’t that he didn’t want to get married; it was all about the moment for him. It was sullied by Ridge (Thorsten Kaye) showing up. Is that how you want to look back at your wedding day? He’s ready to move forward but it’s not going to be quite as easy as he wants it to be.
Right, there’s Brooke and Ridge’s son, RJ (Anthony Turpel) to consider.
That’s right! That monkey in the wrench, as they say. He’s the cog in the wheel. So that creates some problems.
B&B has gone on some amazing locations. Do you have any favourites?
They are all so different and fun. Aspen was beautiful. Monte Carlo was a blast. Abu Dhabi and Dubai were fun. Ripping around in the Lamborghini! Each trip was unique. Brad takes really great care of us.
Is there a co-star that you’d like to work a little more with?
I’ve been so blessed to work with Heather and Kelly. They’re the best. I think that working with Jackie again would be a lot of fun. I think it would create so much drama… Hamlet-like. You’d have Ridge freaking out but it would be all about the friction between Bill, Wyatt and Liam. They’ve had their father/son issues before but nothing like what this would create. So that’s a dynamic situation and conflict that I think would be pretty intense to play.